The special issue explores the manifold relations between history, memory, and anthropological research. Explicitly or not, history has always been a particular reference for anthropological research. First of all, anthropologists most often deal with the past not only when attempting to reconstruct past events and conditions, but rather to look at social change, innovation, and transformation, enabling then to position their findings in larger theoretical perspectives. Moreover, many anthropologists are primarily interested in the ways in which people perceive societal changes, experience and represent them and relate them to their various world-views at large. In these endeavors, the notion of history itself became the center of debate, which shifted the attention of many scholars away from an absolute or etic frame of reference to primarily an emic understanding of its meaning with regard to local issues and life-worlds. Thus, the interaction between History and Anthropology was not simple in the past and is not so today. Whatever the particular interest or approach to history for anthropologists may be, history is therefore not just a neutral domain. From a social-constructivist perspective, history is a part of a distinct local cultural and symbolic universe and represents the result of social processes of selection, remembrance and oblivion. The ‘memory boom’ in anthropology triggered many studies in Africanist scholarship as well, for example, on the way in which historical memories were used by both protagonists of colonialism and national-liberation movements; or as a means of state propaganda by postcolonial regimes.
The special issue explores the manifold relations between history, memory, and anthropological research. Explicitly or not, history has always been a particular reference for anthropological research. First of all, anthropologists most often deal with the past not only when attempting to reconstruct past events and conditions, but rather to look at social change, innovation, and transformation, enabling then to position their findings in larger theoretical perspectives: from (neo-)evolutionism, the Vienna School, (Neo-)Marxism to globalization theories. Evolutionists (from the classics of the nineteenth century to contemporary ‘neoevolutionists’) are, for example, enthusiastic about the prospects of the two disciplines' union and view anthropology actually as a study of cultural history. On the contrary, anthropologists of different relativistic schools are more or less skeptical in their views on the usefulness of history for anthropological research as a study of contemporary cultures. For example, such a powerful figure as Malinowski argued that what he called conjectural history can give anthropology very little, if anything at all. Postmodernist Anthropology in fact, takes this postulate for granted.
Could there be any connection between the Zulus and the Kazakhs as early as the 19th century? Between remote parts of Russia and South Africa? According to some archival documents, people from these two countries did know something about one another and had started to form mutual images of one another even in that epoch. And this led to contacts direct or indirect. The available evidence is fragmentary, often contradictory and sometimes difficult to interpret. But it is there.
The review analyses a book of memoirs by white British citizens who particiapted in the underground struggle against apartheid and who made an extremely important contribution to its fall.
The chapter is an overview of political and social history of all the regions of sub-Saharan Africa in the Early Modern Time (mid-15th - 17th century).
The fiftieth anniversary is approaching of the year which has entered the world history as "The Year of Аfrica". In 1960 seventeen new Аfrican states appeared on the map of the world. In connection with this anniversary the summing up of the results is beginning in Аfrica and the whole world: what has this half-century road been like? What difficulties, achievements, mistakes have been on this road? It is necessary also to track the road of science in the field of Аfrican studies, to estimate to what degree its predictions have come true, what achievements, difficulties, mistakes it has had. In his article the author unifies the analysis of scientific achievements with what he saw himself when he was a student and a post-graduate student from the end of the 1940-s to the middle of the 1950-s, and he stresses what is important in this country's Аfrican studies and what is not clear enough to people who came to science at a later time.
The principle of communality is denoted as the ability of the originally and essentially communal worldview, consciousness, behavioral pattern, socio-political norms and relations to spread on all the levels of societal complexity including, though in modified or sometimes even corrupted form, sociologically supra- and non-communal. As a pivotal socio-cultural foundation, the principle of communality has a direct impact on all subsystems of the African society at all the levels of its being throughout its whole history. Precisely this is what can explain to a large extent the originality of African culture, African civilization. In the embodiment of the principle of communality it can also make sense to seek the roots of specificity of the historical process in sub-Saharan Africa.